Belly Dance

I had my first new belly dance class last night. Our teacher fuses tribal belly dance with other dance forms she is trained in, namely AfroCuban and Modern. But that does not stop it from giving me a good workout – and making me feel more uncoordinated than anything except perhaps hip-hop.

I love the isolations done in belly dance, but I never feel like I get enough drilling in class. That is, I always feel like we learn the little pieces and then string them together so quickly that I am a messy jumble of half-executed movements. I remember what my arm is doing but forget to lift my chest. I lift my chest but find that my lower abs didn’t engage. I engage my lower abs and forget where to put my foot. I take the right step, but oops, where is my arm? It will just take practice to be able to do all of these things without consciously keeping track of them. To remember that I need to keep my chest up and shoulders back, rather than using the forward chest energy of tango.

I guess we know what I will be doing as I plant myself in front of the mirror this week.

The funny thing about belly dancing, for me, is that the movement really does sink in. At some point, certain things just click. I guess all dancing is like that – I have had the same moments in tango. I feel like I will never get something right, but a couple weeks later it just slips into place. And there is something so beautiful and individual about belly dancing that I know I will stick with it. I love the isolations, the hip movements, the rolling feel throughout the body … and there is so much room for musical interpretation. I can do it.

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3 thoughts on “Belly Dance

  1. Your tango is going to change for the worse with the addition of belly dancing. The techniques are different.Would you take classes in two languages at the same time and expect to make progress in both of them?

  2. Actually, having studied multiple dance forms at one time, my opinion is that it is difficult, but not impossible to keep them separate and yet still learn and grow in each discipline. And I would hazard a bet that the music will help the muscle memory in your body with each form.Do what makes you happy. Glad you are exploring different corners of movement! 🙂

  3. Jan:Of course the techniques are different. I have studied myriad dances (ballet, modern, salsa, jazz, tap, … tango, now belly dance) and understand that there are differences. Many dancers are cross-trained without problems, and in fact it often enriches your dancing to studies different styles.“Would you take classes in two languages at the same time and expect to make progress in both of them?”Yes. I have. I am nearly-bilingual and speak two other languages fairly well. I am trained in linguistics and have studied languages at the same time. I don’t think I would try to begin learning two languages at the same time, but if I have already made good progress in one I will happily begin to learn another one. The same goes for dancing.Thanks, Debbi! It does make me happy, and as long as I am happy doing both (along with the other dances that I do!) I will keep them up! 🙂 I can’t imagine restricting myself to just one dance.

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